In this digital realm we sometimes forget the beauty of a brick-and-mortar shop: the alluring scents, that immediate rush of loving everything you see while also want to take it all in bit by bit. But to be constantly traveling to see every single great boutique out there would be an impossible task, which is why we love Trouva so much. As an online home to thousands of independent shops and makers, you can feel as though you are shopping local without leaving your home.
One of our favorite boutiques that is part of the Trouva community is Freight. Located in Lewes, United Kingdom, it’s a shop founded by a mother-daughter duo and includes some of the most beautiful handmade lifestyle items we’ve ever seen. Wanting everything in their store, we decided to sit down with Freight’s co-founder and the “daughter” half of the duo, Adele.
How big is your shop and how long have you been open?
We are currently in a very small shop space which we are rapidly outgrowing so we are in the process of looking for new premises to ideally move into in 2018. We launched the Freight brand on November 5th 2014.
It’s such a beautiful space, it must put Lewes on the map! How did you find the space, did it take a long time? Was there something in particular you were looking for?
This was originally only going to be a temporary home for us so we did a very swift turn around on it. Within two weeks we had built a wall to divide the flat entrance from the main shop space, built shelving from salvaged wood, fitted marquee coconut matting for a carpet and painted the walls. It was very much a temporary fixture, or so we thought at the time! We often make adjustments to the space we are in now to adapt to the products we have. However we would ideally love to find a permanent fixture where we feel we can settle and make it just right.
You design your own product — do you collaborate together, or is one of you the mind behind the designs?
We work together on all design aspects when we are evolving a new product. There are often a number of trials before we come to final piece that we are both happy with. My mum, Helene, is called the “Editor” — her eye is always on what can be removed to really simplify a design. I am trained as an architectural designer so my skills come in when it comes to design tweaking and doing the drawings.
Your aesthetic is so sophisticated. What inspired you to create Freight?
My mum had a shop in Lewes for over 10 years before Freight came about, called Adamczewski. She closed for two years due to family commitments, however when I finished the second part of my architectural masters I felt driven to collaborate with my mum and to work on ideas that meant we both had entire control over the design, and weren’t making sacrifices due to only being able to buy what was available on the wholesale market. So we started Popinski, a pop up shop, that was launched in November 2013. This was a trial run to find as many UK-produced products as we could – the furthest we sourced from was within Europe. This really kickstarted our desire to design and build our own brand, and to produce only goods that we felt would work well together as a collection.
How has Freight evolved over the years?
Working on the production of our own goods directly with manufacturers has been a huge learning curve. We no longer go to trade fairs to source our goods. We drive up to Stoke on Trent to work with our potter, or to the midlands to work with our knitwear manufacturers. We have had to learn the finite details of how every element is made so we have an absolute understanding of the process. We still have a lot to learn, but we are now at the stage where we are putting Freight products out to the wholesale market which will open more doors and be a whole new learning progression for the brand.
Since you are both online and have a brick-and-mortar shop, what are the benefits and challenges of having a physical store?
Without a doubt having a physical shop space has huge benefits. You get to meet your customers and understand what people want from the products they are purchasing. We like to learn from our customers, we discuss designs with them and how they might like variations, in particular when it comes to the knitwear. Of course, we are known for being quite minimal and color does not occur often on our shelves. However we like to test run colors and see what the response is like. Recently we introduced jade green to our knitwear collection and it has been one of our best-selling colors in the range.
How has Trouva been instrumental in growing your brand?
We launched our own website in June 2015 so we have been online for a while now, but we struggled with marketing and finding the time to get marketing and press done. So joining Trouva has been fantastic for the coverage they enable with regards to this. But also the support you get from the team at Trouva is fantastic. You really get the sense that each boutique they work with is important and that they will support you in any way possible to ensure a great working relationship.